tv [untitled] June 2, 2012 5:00am-5:30am PDT
revat, edward towe, helen quong, giddy burrows, luke jillian, michael sward, steven curo, shelly er, sophie brian, catherine howard, patrick dowd, francisco ris. >> good evening, commissioners, thanks very much for hearing this tonight. this is my son, he wants to say a few words first. >> my name is lehman. i play on the travel team. 50% of my games are canceled because the fields are closed.
when i was -- i would like the field to be turned into astro turf. >> so, commissioners, i coach liam's team with a couple of other parents. we've been very active and involved with kids soccer in the city. we've seen how successful crocker amazon has been. you go there, it's an incredible sight to see on a saturday morning. there are hundreds of kids that are there and i think beach chalet, i play there, played soccer there, played irish football there, it's a great facility. i think it could be used to its potential. we've got rugby and we've got lacrosse, we've got baseball, we've got so many sports that would benefit greatly to have the field astro turf'd. i know everybody's concerned about the impacts against the environment.
i think golden gate park is a phenomenal place and down through the years it's kind of changed as the needs of the city have changed. it's constantly changing. so please accept the e.i.r. i think it would be a great benefit for young families and families with kids and they'll get great enjoyment out it. >> commissioners, steve kerrier. you've had a wonderful week, haven't you? >> yes. >> i'm president of the outer merchants and residents association and a few years ago i was chair of the crocker amazon crock advisory board when it was brought to my attention that we were the third park to be accepted in this turf project and i went head over heels in this. not only did we get the turf
project but we also courted by the san francisco giants and 49ers to get the football field and baseball fields at crocker because it was such a popular park to play sports in. it was the best thing that's ever happened to crocker amazon to get city fields to come in and put in those soccer fields. i went to many, many meetings where people were screaming about the lighting -- there was too much lighting in the neighborhood, the trees were coming down. the trees were old trees, 100-year-old cypress that were dead, needed to come down, and the lighting has added to the benefit of the neighborhood, not only in safety but in park safety. i cannot tell you, i cannot assure you enough that this is the best thing and i've been
advocating -- i've been doing this for like 14 years now and i remember when i moved into my neighborhood 20 years ago when you said you couldn't go to crocker amazon park because you would get robbed or burglarized or raped and we made that park to what it is and i think with the beach chalet, the previous speaker told me that some parts of that part of golden gate park is pretty seedy. you know what, let's make it better. and it's for the kids. it's for the youth, it's for the soccer teams that want to stay in the city and play here. thank you. >> hi, my name is patrick dowd and i play for the over 14 team. i've played soccer since i was 3 years old and i play five times a week for two different teams and i do not know one kid who doesn't prefer playing on turf
fields as opposed to grass fields in san francisco. turf fields, they don't get rained out for games. we've had a schedule many games this past season due to rain and it also elevates the game play. >> hi, i'm mary pat dowd, patrick's mom. and i have six children. my oldest is 21, my youngest is 3. i've driven miles across this city trying to get fields. i live on the north side closer to the marina on steiner field and not far from kimball field and it's glorious when we have a game or practice at kimball. that resonates with me, the argument that we need to get another option in the city location-wise. i support the lights. i think that's easily controlled. you flip them off if we have an eclipse we want to witness or a special event. if you have adults out there playing pickup games in leagues,
we need everybody off the couch, you know. this has been so focused on the youth but honestly, when i see the man who had his child that needed to go to bed, when i hear about all the people who are socializing on a soccer field and not in a bar or not elsewhere, i think we need to support the adults with lights. so i support the turf, i support the lights. i thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> good evening, thank you very much for allowing me to speak. my name is shelly er. i've lived in the city for over 25 years. i'm an environmentalist early on, an environmental investor, healthcare specialist and financier and senior executive of a start-up medical device company in the city. i speak from all of these backgrounds. just as i have evolved, i think also the youth of the park and the general plan must evolve to meet the needs of the city.
first, as an environmentalist, i deeply care about the environment. there are parts of the park which are those natural places which i adore taking my children to. but there are also parts under the general plan which have been set aside for recreational activities and i think that this is designated as that and should be kept so and should be put to its best use and more fully utilized in a safe manner. second, as a healthcare specialist, others have alluded to the fact that we have an obesity epidemic and how are you going to get children to learn to change their lifestyles as well as adults and others to get up off the couch. we must teach our children this now at an early age, witness all of these children who have been here. third, as a business executive, i have employees in san francisco. every day when i hear about them having to make the choice between living here and moving, it is about their children, it is about having a quality of life. this can tip that scale for people to stay in the city versus many of my friends who
have moved to have better access to sports for their children and outdoor activities. fourth, as a player and referee, rain-outs and other safety issues, gopher holes and other things, not to mention the access for many, many, many additional players. if you go to crocker at 6:00, 7:00 or 8:00 at night and see the composition of people who are playing there, the community which is coming together there, it is a wonderful community activity. and finally as a parent of 13, 16-year-olds, sports are critical and they have to be able to play in the city close to where their schools are as the head of the athletics spoke. as a resident, i urge you, and as a business person with employees in the city paying my taxes, i urge you to approve of this e.i.r. >> thank you. are there any other speakers who i've called? >> good evening, commissioners,
catherine howard, s.f. ocean edge. you got a smaller copy of our report. you have a digital one which is this size and we didn't print all these, but if you want one printed, please let me know. we ask you not to certify the e.i.r., we ask you not to approve the project and not to approve the coastal zone permit application. i'm also going to submit some letters regarding other aspects of the e.i.r. and flaws with the e.i.r. i want to give you an example that's in the report about our lighting expert who investigated the e.i.r. and what was said in it and he said that the e.i.r. fails to consider the impact of fog on the lights. he calculates the brightness of the lights in foggy nights will be 10 to 20 times what it would be without the fog. of course, we never have fog in the western part of san francisco, but if we did, that's what would happen. imagine, though, the impact on wildlife in the park. imagine the impact on the people, homes looking down on the park, and imagine the impact
on the people who go to the beach at night. i'm sure you've all gone to the beach to watch the sunset. these lights are going to be on from dusk until 10:00 every night of the year. the sunset and sterling along the prom nod along ocean beach will be totally changed, like strolling along next to yankee stadium, something like that. the people who go to the fire rings on the beach are impacted. the people who go with their families to look at the stars at land's end will be impacted because of the light. there is a win-win solution. we support soccer. this is all about location, location, location. we ask you to consider that the e.i.r. consider the compromise solutions and that you also develop a vision for the western end of the park where the construction yard which is an attractive nuisance is cleaned up, the soccer fields are renovated with real grass, the ocean beach master plan talks about a connection between the park and the beach that's also
natural. we have an opportunity to have a glorious, magnificent western end of golden gate park that is beautiful and natural and that's what we would like to see happen. thank you. >> ellen edleson, john barbara, natalie portis, alex potente, al fenton, francisco reyes. >> hi. didn't realize how late it was. thanks for staying up this late with us to hear our comments. i'm a native san franciscan and live in the sunset district. i grew up there and right now i can see the lights of the other playground that's out at 40th and vicente or that area. and that is disturbing and this is going to be as disturbing and
as was previously said, the fog will accentuate those lights. we in san francisco think we're so green but when we drive away the wildlife with the lights and fake lawn, the children are not going to have an opportunity or not much of an opportunity to experience wildlife and the natural areas that we take such pride in in san francisco, the few remnants we have left. while i realize this is not a naturalist space, it is a naturalistic space and there's a lot of wildlife there and it's very much underappreciated. and this is just such a false choice between soccer and the environment. all these kids who are out here, they deserve to be able to play soccer and as was previously said, it's really location, location, and i also urge you to look at other alternatives for
this project. this is not the place and it does violate the golden gate park master plan for the west end. the east end is very built up and that's what it's -- what's happened over the years but we don't need this on the west end. we need a place for tranquility, for quiet, for strolling, for observing the wildlife out there, for it just being peaceful and quiet and by the way, a turf has been used the term has been used so much today, refers to lawn, not necessarily to plastic or green grass lawn, but just to lawn, just for the record. thank you. >> remy towne, barbara delaney
and lorraine wolrough. >> my name is barbara delaney. i live in the outer sunset and i have lived there since 1978 and i'm probably at the soccer fields four or five times a week so i really know the area. i know all the paths around it. i know the whole feel of it. and it is in the western end of the park. so even in midday, you are likely to be walking in thick fog. it's almost mystical out there. it's so peaceful and so quiet. you know, on the north side, there's the windmill and queen wilhamena's tulip garden and on the west side there's the beach chalet, the actual restaurant, and the park chalet where people sit out and on the other side, while there's the windmill and hopefully they'll do something about that and when the kids are there playing soccer during the day on the weekends, it's very noisy, but when they're not there, it's very quiet.
and there's just loads of paths and yes, there is the odd homeless camper and there are a few odd people ducking in and out of the shrubberies but they're pretty much harmless. i've been there late at night and it's not unsafe. it's not seedy. people have been standing up here making it sounds like it was really not safe but that's not true. it's just the whole stadium lights and the expanded parking and the bleachers, it would be so out of character. and it would be such a nice thing to have at west sunset and the middle school is right there and the library is right there. it would be a perfect place for a nice soccer field, west sunset, and leave the soccer field the way it is in the park. thank you. >> hello, my name is lorraine
woodrough long, the executive director of san francisco police activity league and the parent of two children that are eighth generation of san franciscans. i had the misfortune of growing up in texas. we serve almost 4,000 kids every year and we serve children in every zip code. we represent the diversity of san francisco children and in the past three years thanks to our partnership with park and rec. and city fields, our spring soccer program has doubled by 1300 kids. this year, our spring soccer program had 2600 kids in it. however, because of rain, we had to -- the fields were closed in 25% of our games were rained out. not because our children don't want to play in the rain but we had to preserve the fields and one of those was city fields. the demand is there for the kids and you're turning away children who want to play because there's just not the place for them. it's one more thing for families
that are trying to stay in san francisco and make it a viable place to raise kids, it's another straw that makes it tough for families here. i point i'd like to make. i have something here. i don't know if it can be seen. but a point for you as a planning commission, this -- our ponents to this project are repeatedly calling this piece of land a meadow and i want to emphasize that this picture is the first p.o.a. journal announcing the p.a.l., with pictures of kids playing soccer at the beach chalet and this is 1959 and it was not a meadow then. it was a soccer field and it was a playing field and tried as i might, i tried to get an aerial picture of san francisco that shows the beach chalet project in 1938, the year my aunt was born here, and it is clearly four soccer fields marked and a football field and it was not a meadow then. it was designed -- this is its
intended use, an improvement on what the property was zoned for, what it was intended for and we really urge you to support this for families, for kids, so we can have more kids have healthy activities in san francisco. >> thank you very much. are there any additional speakers? come on up. >> good evening, commissioners, i'm the chair of the coalition for san francisco neighborhoods land use and housing committee. and i'd like to address some of the issues in regards to the beach chalet field renovation. i'd like to read part of a
letter. the coalition of san francisco neighborhoods believes the e.i.r. for the beach chalet project is incomplete and inaccurate and we urge the planning commission not to certify the e.i.r. and urge the rec. and park commission not to approve the project. cfn believes an alternative plan which is a win-win for soccer players and nature supporters has been presented but has not been seriously vetted. this is reported in the handout i gave to you and i will now address the e.i.r. issue right now. i'd like to go on to the alternative plan. the coalition for san francisco neighborhoods believes the alternative sites have not been fully investigated. cfn supports alternative site to project golden gate park's beach chalet athletic field as a natural turf field within the
naturalistic parkland as a multiuse meadow and as a wildlife habitat, while providing additional playing hours. csfn believes this can be accomplished by a combination of alternatives two, three and four. and csfn asks that the new e.i.r. consider a compromise alternative as follows -- one, renovate the west sunset playground with improved playing surface and night light for some or all of its fields. two, renovate the beach chalet athletic field with natural grass. three, do not add lights to the beach chalet athletic fields. csfn opposes the e.i.r. for the beach chalet project because it is inaccurate, inadequate and incomplete. now, it's not as though the
beach chalet is the only site that city could provide extra hours of soccer for players. but the west end of the golden gate park, a renowned treasure, cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the city. it's not a choice. we want soccer fields. we want kids to play, but it doesn't have to be in golden gate park. >> thank you very much. any additional public comment? >> i'm regina rirson and i asked you to please not certify this e.i.r. i'm a long-time resident of san francisco and i live just a few blocks from the beach chalet. and i also am a voter and a business owner. i'm big on beauty and i walk myself and with my friends and
loved ones all around western golden gate park, including all those trails, all around the beach chalet, and also at the beach at night with my sweet heart. we really enjoy looking at the ocean and the moon and the stars and really appreciate that. and i'm one of those, if you've ever seen them, a few eccentric people who when they walk they pick up trash and pull weeds, and i've never felt the need to tell anybody before but right now, i do, and i'm not doing it just so that we can have more traffic and more invasive lights, fewer trees, and ugly plastic turf, and more pollution out there. that's not what i'm doing it
for. and so fortunately none of it's necessary because there's arficial turf for the western sunset playground and natural turf for the beach chalet soccer fields and thanks. >> any additional public comment? ok. so seeing none, the public comment portion of this hearing is closed and we'll move to commissioners questions and comments. commissioner antonini? commissioner antonini: thank you. i guess there isn't a staff wrap-up. we've probably had quite a bit already. i want to make a few comments. i am a lover of natural turf. one of my joys is working on my lawn. i don't know if it's a joy, spending four hours aireating it in the spring and the fall is not a joy but it is a wonderful
thing and the smells and all the things. i really sympathize with those who want to have natural turf. however, there's a difference between ornamental and recreational uses and among recreational uses, some are more demanding. this is the third time around for the polo fields. i remember when they tried to redo them the first time and threw seed on sand and it didn't take and then they put on turf, they put that down, and did it the right way and it lasted for quite a few years but it's difficult to keep tup and the same is true, i've heard, which is starting to show wear and marina green needs a lot of work, a lot of weeds in there. we have plenty to keep us busy but the challenges of maintaining turf are the hardest as close to the ocean as you get so the most difficult place for
natural turf would be the beach chalet fields. we did get an awful lot of emails on the subject, many from people outside of san francisco. but -- and it was interesting. some of these i would ask by email, you know, how did you find out about the project and i also asked them, do you have artificial turf fields or lights in your jurisdiction, wherever they happen to be writing from, and very few of them replied but a few did and i know they do have these types of things because i grew up in the liberal moore valley and they have lots of fields lit up at night and a number of them are artificial turf so it's interesting, maybe they feel it's not appropriate in golden state park but fine everywhere else and that particular part of the park, everybody has talked about, is a little bit of a scary area. they talk about taking the trees away and a lot of these trees are overgrown foliage which really needs to be cleared out for safety, for the health of the rest of the trees.
they did a beautiful job at harding park where they cut some of the trees came down from age and weather but others were cleared out and they opened it up a lot more and have made the course much better and the same thing at olympic club, which is private, but grass is healthier, the whole area is healthier if it gets light and air so part of that i think is part of what we should be doing, plus the safety factor is chief sir came in to talk about that area where there are obviously the police force knows there's lots of activities that aren't the best that go in in those brambles around there so that's only a side benefit of clearing this up. comments were made about other uses and that the markings will only be for soccer but i think they'll be able to have markings for multiple other sports. they talked about lacrosse. i would think they'd be able to do that. perhaps gaelic football. you can have multiple markings on artificial turf field and
they still work. keys has those types of -- i've seen a lot of them that are artificial turf. ignatius put in artificial turf in their football field five years ago and it's worked out quite well and they have multiple markings. the other thing i thought was unusual, there was a lot of comments about the hazards with artificial turf. however, i never heard too much about problems with it being used everywhere else in the city but it's a problem at beach chalet so it seems like if you're really concerned about the hazards with artificial turf, you would be concerned everyplace else. andy -- and then there was another comment made about golf courses and the maintenance is a lot different for golf courses than it is with soccer fields and some of those need a lot of work, too. and then we talk about the other fields. we have keys, the polo fields,
another natural turf fields within golden gate park that we can devote our resources towards those and allow the kind of play that we're going to need, and having coached kids in grammar school, 5:00 comes pretty early on winter days and to try to -- adults want to use fields, too. they want to be active. they want to participate. and this gives us another tool. someone else commented about the fact that professional sports are going back to natural grass and, yeah, i support that 100%, but they have a dedicated field. they can spend unlimited amounts of money on these fields to keep
them in prime condition and it's a lot different if you're trying to use them all the time. and the e.i.r. itself, there were analysis of four alternatives. they talked about no plan. they talked about lights with natural turf. they talked about artificial turf with no lights and the preferred plan which is the one that's before us. also there was a question about the coastal commission and apparently the project is outside the jurisdiction of the coastal commission so i'm not sure that if you can see the lights from somewhere within the jurisdiction of the coastal commission it does not necessarily mean they have jurisdiction over that but that may be a point that was trying to be made. i've already talked about the trees and i think some of the trees are thinning out to make it a healthier area. and finally, the wildlife situation. there wasn't a lot of wildlife in that area before 1939 when it